Deltares: “Building with Nature” Approach to Help Indonesia

Building with Nature Approach to Help Indonesia

Indonesia is planning to use the Dutch ‘Building with Nature’ concept on a large scale for the restoration of its coasts.

Indonesia is already working with Deltares and Wetlands International on the pilot project for natural mangrove restoration on the northern coast of Java. The approach there is based on a traditional Dutch method used in the Wadden Sea. Given the initial promising results, Indonesia plans to take a look at the possibilities for upscaling the pilot project.

Indonesia is also considering further research to look at building a Sand Motor to combat coastal erosion near Kuta Beach on Bali.

This became clear when a delegation from the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) visited Deltares and the environmental organisation Wetlands International last week. The Dutch approach to coastal protection was central. In addition to technical and substantive issues, the administrative implications associated with the implementation of solutions were also discussed.

The Indonesians are enthusiastic about the Dutch ‘Building with Nature’ concept, which uses the natural system to enhance coastal protection.


Coastal erosion washes away dozens of metres every year

Indonesia suffers from severe coastal erosion at a range of locations, including Java and Bali. In some places, decades of metres of coast are eroded every year. That constitutes an immediate threat to the living and working environments of local people on the coasts, and coastal recovery is an urgent priority.

Mangrove restoration on Java with Dutch method for land reclamation

Mangrove restoration on the northern coast of Java (near Semarang) is based on a traditional land reclamation technique that has been used for decades in the Wadden Sea in the Netherlands. Kilometres of mangrove forest on the coast of Java have been chopped down to make way for fish ponds, even though mangroves play a major role in coastal protection because they break waves.

Permeable wooden barriers have now been put into place off the coast of Java; they will break the waves and retain sediment, reclaiming land and creating the conditions that allow mangroves to grow naturally.

As well as the role they play in coastal protection, mangrove forests are also breeding grounds for a wide range of fish and shellfish, as well as being a source of income for local people.

Sand Motor for Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach on Bali, a popular tourist destination, has also been suffering from erosion since an airport was built offshore. Indonesia wants to protect and restore the beach, and so it wants to examine the possible options for a Sand Motor. The Sand Motor is a large-scale sand nourishment project on the coast between Ter Heijde and Kijkduin in the Netherlands.

The wind, waves and currents will spread the sand over the next 20 years along the coast between the Hook of Holland and Scheveningen, forming new beaches and dunes that will provide protection against sea-level rise and create more room for nature and recreation.


Press Release, March 27, 2014